tv Back Story Podcast Behind-the- Scenes CSPAN August 21, 2019 9:37am-11:15am EDT
america from ft. monroe, live, saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m. on c-span's washington journal and on american history tv on c-span 3. next on american history tv, backstory host brian balogh and nathan connelly give a behind the scenes look at their weekly podcast. they are joined by a former staff member and a regular guest. this was part of a two-day purdue university conference called remaking american political history. it's an hour and a half. >> okay. good morning. >> good morning. >> welcome to the 10:45 panel called something like behind the scenes at backstory. >> that's right. >> maybe. just so you know you are not on the wrong flight. i'm brian balogh and i've been a co-host for backstory for over ten years now. i'm going to introduce the panel
and then we're each going to say a few words about our quite different roles -- well, nathan and i have the same role. he's trying to steal the 20th century from me and doing a pretty good job of it, but we all have relatively different roles and backstory. we are going to talk about that a little bit. and then we are going to open it up to your questions. just for starters, this is not what it looks like behind the scenes at backstory. in fact, we're rarely in the same place at the same time. i had to google nathan to see what he looked like, for instance, even though i talk to him every week. so introducing myself, i'm a professor at the university of virginia, i co-host backstory and i direct the national fellowship program at the jefferson scholars foundation. my co-host nathan connelly, of
course, is known to most of you as an outstanding scholar. he is the herbert -- herbert baxter adams chair of history at the johns hopkins university. he is the author of a world more concrete, real estate and the remaking of jim crow's south florida. he is also hard at work on a book that is really a deep transnational family history. is that -- >> that's right. >> a fair description? >> yes. >> and it's called "four daughters" and it's a five generation history of one working class family whose travels and travails took them between the caribbean, europe and the united states. nathan is also an overall good citizen and as part of his good
citizenship he has been involved in a project that a number of you out there are working on called mapping inequality where you're laying out the landscape of red lining in the united states. joey thompson graduated from the university of virginia about 12 minutes ago and his dissertation is titled "sounding southern: music, militarism and the making of the sun belt." this is -- i will say it publicly -- one of the best cultural histories that i have read in 35 years of advising graduate students, his adviser was, i should say, grace hail. he has fired all of us. because he is on to a job as an assistant professor at
mississippi state university. joey is here because he had the misfortune of being a researcher for backstory for two years. so if you really want to look behind the scenes at backstory what you will behind are first-rate scholars, joey thompson, monica blair who always sits right up front is our current researcher and is a ph.d. candidate at the university of virginia department of history. joey, monica and several other outstanding scholars have done the research that really powers the intellectual connections in backstory, if there are any. and joyce chaplin who i met at the johns hopkins university when we were both in graduate school together. i prided myself on being the first person to the library every morning, there was only
one person who was there always before me and that was joyce chaplin. do you remember that, joyce? >> you're going to tell everything about -- >> no, that's it. i stopped right there. joyce is the james duncan phillips professor of early american history at harvard university. her most recent works include "roundabout the earth: circumnavigating image land to orbit." and with allison bashford the new world of thomas robert mouthace rereading the principle of population. joyce has been kind enough to be a guest on backstory three times. >> three times. >> and she's going to talk to us a little bit about what it is to be like dropped into a show where people know each other pretty well and bring scholarship to bear on a topic
that we hope will reach a broader public. not an easy thing to do and joyce has done it masterfully as a guest three times. so let me take five or ten minutes and just give you a brief history of backstory, considering that we're four historians, myself, nathan, joanne freeman at yale university and ed ayers president emeritus at the university of richmond, considering that we're four historians we know nothing formally about our own history. we can't tell you exactly when we started, we have no archives. i guess since you are all historians none of this comes as a great surprise to you. i actually did some primary research, meaning i went back to the oldest emails i had and there is an exchange in 2005 about possibly doing a show, it
has had many horrible names. the one i remember best is the one i suggested, history hotline. that lasted -- that lasted about three minutes, i think. the show started when a man by the name of andrew wyndham who worked for virginia humanities, which we are still housed in and they still support us, andrew wyndham suggested to ed ayers and peter oniff that it would be fun to do a radio show on history and apparently peter responded saying two things, number one, we don't know enough history, we need somebody in 20th century. number two, we are not very funny, so nobody is going to be interested in this show. but andrew prevailed on ed and peter oniff, they came to me, i
said that's a ridiculous idea, nobody is going to be interested in this. and we spent about a year and a half doing one demo, which was truly horrible. if it doesn't exist it's because we have all made separate attempts to burn this demo. we circulated that to ten or so directors of public radio stations. our notion was eventually if we hit the big time we would be on one or two public radio stations. originally the show was a call-in show, we took calls from people and we discussed a specific topic that went across three centuries. we were undeniably three dead white males. we really took pride in owning our own centuries, one of our
most frequent troupes was, oh, my century is better than yours, my century is worse than yours. that was -- you know, that was one of the formats that we used again and again. we got training by appearing on live radio shows. i will never forget we were on a radio show in norfolk. we all were sitting in a studio, but we were on this show live in norfolk and a caller called in and asked whether william and mary had been founded on pirates' booty. i'm pointing at peter, peter is pointing at ed, we are all going you take this one. ed is googling furiously, wikipedia is next to monica and joey that was our major search research engine and peter answered the question and i have no idea how he answered.
we were fortunate enough to air as a monthly show on local public radio stations, meaning central virginia, also wtju, the university's station, that's how we got our start, and very fortunate eventually to expand to roughly 200 public radio stations around the country. we had some good -- good in terms of audience -- stations. a public radio station in chicago probably reached the largest audience of any station that we were on. it was a good time. we were also on alaskan public radio, i can't remember what time we were on in alaska. i know that we were on wamu in washington, d.c., i think we were on at 7:00 in the morning on saturday morning and i want
to tell you that we were incredibly popular with cab drivers all over washington. i'm assuming some of them had passengers, so at least more than one person was listening to us in washington, d.c. roughly about three years ago we made two very important decisions, one of them was triggered by peter oniff, 18th century guy, deciding to retire both from the university of virginia and step down from backstory and we were very fortunate that we were able to reach out to nathan connolly and to joanne freeman and they joined us and their perspectives, their interests, their life experiences, their own experience in public engagement i think has really changed the show. i love the old backstory, but i also really love the current
backstory. at the same time we decided to make a -- kind of take a deep gulp decision. we pulled off of 200 public radio stations and went to a podcast only format. at the time i didn't know what a podcast was. that's not entirely true. i urged that we go to podcast even though i didn't know how to find podcasts on my phone because of two things, we wanted to reach a much more diverse audience and we wanted to reach a much younger audience. we lucked out. the podcast turned out to be very successful. on our 200 public radio stations the estimates -- and they were really hazy -- the estimates were that we were reaching roughly 40,000 listeners. we currently are downloaded by
roughly 100,000 listeners every week and i should have mentioned about eight or nine years ago we went to a weekly so i'm in love with my co-hosts. i'm in love with our researchers, in love with our sizable production staff. we have averaged staff overall full time of 7 or 8 people. so we are still aiming for a sound and i'm amazed, people keep coming up and think we just get together and sit around a table and shoot the breeze. and we are aiming for that. but in fact it is a costly
production, it is a complicated production, and if it sounds good, it's because of the incredible co-hosts i have and because of the amazing staff we enjoyed now over ten years. so i'm happy to answer a lot of questions in question and answer, but i'm going to turn it over to nathan and ask a question i've never asked like what did it feel like to just come into an existing podcast with at least two old white guys. >> had to resuscitate right away. so it was with the benefit of having appeared on "backstory" that i took this move and stepped into this platform, having done a show, i think we did one on booker t. washington
and black middle class. i will be honest and say up front i had a certain amount of trepidation about taking this move into doing media work in large part because of where i was in my career, as an assistant professor, with all kinds of expectations about timetable, clock, and early associate professor. we had conversations where i am agonizing how to do work like balance three young children, two manuscripts in the pipeline and a podcast we're doing, and the process of imagining my own calculations and tradeoffs has a lot to do with trying to understand genre. so "backstory" was a phenomenal way to really begin to engage how senior scholars think about big, expansive, complicated ideas and distill them down in extraordinary compelling ways. one of the things brian won't
take a lot of credit for or ed or for that matter who's the other guy, peter, is that they have the benefit of being able to take a field at a glance and look at it and come at something very complicated with an x trord necessarily grounded anecdote. that's a skill i have to do a fair amount of learning. as much as i want to complexify things, it is showing the complexity in the details. learning from these folks has been wonderful in that regard. i will say that the show itself was going through, this was all happening back stage, its own agonizing conversion from broadcast to podcast. a lot of the process of creating a show for the radio had to do with basically approximating the
sound. it had to do with getting the show to sound like -- there's a lot goes into how many times one reads a script, whether to do a retake on jokes that come off and get that magic who happen for take two and three. and thankfully we arrived in terms of our own legs in podcasting at a less varnished sound that i think is more honest as a listening experience goes. we're in an environment last i heard this may have been two month old data which had gone up by 100%. there were 400,000 podcasts out there. having "backstory" that exists in the top 1% of podcasts, still something people wanted to tune into, that means a challenge of coming up with compelling topics and finding the news topics. some ways the most exhausting thing the first year on "backstory" is it coincided with the arrival of the trump
administration in january of 2017. so we spent week after week after week with no shortage of things to offer deep contextual views of, muslim bans, transgender bans, border walls, environmentalism. >> i want to say, nathan, i'm the one that said we have to do a show not about donald trump. and i came up with a great idea. the history of hair. and everyone looked at me and said hair, donald trump? never mentioned donald trump's hair on the history of hair. >> and shortly thereafter did a history of ufos which i loved as well. suffice to say one of the things we have been able to do well, i will close my remarks here i think is find a way of balancing two things. one is in a field where we all would like to imagine ourselves as being effective collaborators, there's a lot that goes into structuring
productive collaborations. sometimes when you're on a conference program committee, want to co-author something, there's no shortage of opportunities to step on each other where that's concerned. i think one of the things that makes it easiest to work on "backstory," juggle my own work life stuff, think about the shows's own perfect -- engineers produce, producers to produce. and we will often times balance intellectual questions off engineers and producers and they'll help us arrive at things. it will help with script work as needed on the fly. in that sense you get new and fresh content, from deep levels of expertise across various staff positions. that i think is really important and was really useful to learn how to do that. the other thing i would just say is i think it is really critical
to think a lot now about how we are electing to engage the public. i know there's a lot of for me personally, i do the kind of work comes out of a left orientation, the kind of questions i ask are grounded in material questions, grounded in anti-racist work i have been doing a long time. doing that work in a space that's been opened up in a way that maybe some npr audiences may not be amenable to is also really important. how does one do anti-racist work in a liberal media atmosphere. this is a basic question. we're having a lot of conversations about who is electable, what's acceptable political discourse. "backstory" provided me with an important platform for experimenting, figuring out what some of the middle ground and yet still radical perspectives can be, and the fact that it is grounded in extraordinary research and our own deep rigorous historic sensibilities
allows us to feel more confident when we step out and push the civic debate in ways we think is necessary an important. that's been immensely rewarding. >> can i task you with one more job? >> sure. >> can you say a few words about our regular gig on here and now? >> so another one of the things that came with the new podcast format was a partnership with the folks on wbur's "here and now." we have been doing basically every other week appearances on "here and now." for those that are less familiar, has about a million listeners. >> a million and a quarter. >> we get about nine minutes to entertain the million and a quarter listeners. often times it is on topics that are again right on with the news cycle, so it is a compressed timetable to get our hand around the issues in ways that are
again really directed at trying to take advantage of our expertise as scholars. this is a relationship that i think has been great for the show but also one that can be -- i have done 20, almost 30 now "here and now appearances." the first 19, 20, i was very self annihilating as i left the booth. oh my god, i could have said this, i should have said this. >> i will read some of the texts he sent me. >> they all come off sounding great, and it is all wonderful, but it is also one of those things where the early going, we were trying to figure out do they want us to be analysts or talking with pedia pages. what exactly is our relationship with this other entity. there are things we said that they decided might have been too polarizing for their audiences, we make our own calculations going forward. but i will say it is a relationship that i think is mutually beneficial.
we have i think still to figure out a little bit of tweaking whether or not we get the chance to be personalities. great thing on "backstory," you build a relationship with the host as people. and i think here and now, we are content providers. another round of evolution to spare with that relationship to make it possible to feel as if we're active personalities on the show. i think it is a very important civic space that again allows us to be piped into audiences we may not be able to access because we may not have an i device or search. >> i think my first appearance on "here and now" within a couple hours was called out on the rush limbaugh show. that suggests an audience i don't normally reach, whether when we were on terrestrial radio as it is called or
podcasts. >> over to me. okay. thanks for being here and brian, thanks for asking me back. it has been a little over a year since i was actually the researcher, so round of applause or maybe not. nod to monica who is the current researcher. >> monica blair. >> monica blair, yes. brian asked me to come here and talk a little about what goes into creating a prep for the show and then to reflect a bit about the way this influenced my time as a graduate student. i was doing this while i was writing a dissertation, how it influenced my scholarship and most importantly for if there are grad students out there, my job prospects. i'll start by saying one of the most exciting and sometimes anxiety producing parts of being the research for "backstory" is being handed a topic you know absolutely nothing about.
this in fact was the case for the climate change episode that we're going to reflect on a little bit. i am not an environmental historian, never had a course in it. how do you wrangle the history of something you don't know about, write 10 to 20 single space page prep. >> with picture of a polar bear standing on what looked like by then an ice cube. i think it had been a shelf of ice. >> humor is the only way to get through climate change. to write this substantial prep, suggest interesting stories, identify authors that might make interesting interviewees, all in what you're billed as ten hours a week. sometimes i went over that a little bit because as you can maybe tell, i'm an overpreparer. so that can be demanding at times. it reflects why it is important for a show like "backstory" to have a dedicated researcher
rather than for that to be something that the hosts are doing. nathan gestured towards his crazy schedule, i can't imagine you trying to research a whole show yourself or your segment or anything like that. so how do you go about doing something like that? this will be a very familiar process to probably everyone in the room, but i usually started with journal and blog searches. jah, american quarterly, modern american history and blogs like black perspectives were key for me in being able to find these stories that we could use for each episode. journal articles are particularly useful because if they're framed in the right way, they themselves can be a segment if it is based on one compelling story. other times whatever i found would go into the general fodder for the hosts to read and producers to see and hopefully that would generate conversation that happens between the segments of the show if you're
familiar with the format. in the case of the climate change episode, i relied on an article called modernity for climate, i found in journal of qui critical inquiry. if we are trying to reach a general audience, as a researcher it is my job to take theoretical work, distill it into digestible facts and stories and hand it to the hosts and producers. and what that article was helpful with was creating intellectual human perceptions on climate change. want to give a shoutout to historians in different parts of the government. that website content that the state department historians create and branches of government, that stuff is really key for getting the nuts and
bolts of political history. and it is an interesting way to think about how those are probably ph.d. historians working in those positions, so the way that people that didn't take the academic route wound up in government and then there's kind of a triangulation between the academy, the government, and media. just a shoutout to those historians. great source for me. the other is good old fashioned shelf browsing. here's where conducting this work at uva was really important. uva has a tremendous library source and wasn't uncommon for me to go there looking for one book and come out with 20. we have probably all done that. that was helpful in a way looking at world cat or digital sources was not always as productive. you can rifle through a book, check out stories. related to that, i often would go to the best synthetic history
that i could find to create the big historical arch of the show prep. for the climate change episode, i relied on james fleming historical perspective on climate change and spencer works, discovery of global warming. these type of works, ones where the authors create over arching narratives, they're in dispensable. you get a sense of themes, useful anecdotes, hopefully gain understanding of the history once you mind their footnotes. another method was relying on colleagues. wasn't uncommon to email and reach out to peers at uva or other institutions and people that i knew working on a particular topic. in the case of the climate change episode, i reached out to one of brian's students who i knew was working on climate change and weaponization of weather and asked could you
share your research to help me figure this out. which he did. and i think i bring that up to point out how important it is for us to use our networks as scholars to create this kind of public programming. and we're lucky to have people that will donate time and research in that way. relatedly, i believe you suggested spencer chaplain for this episode. he was generous to share progress research and created a segment around that. using that research, i would tease out continuity versus change over time. obviously a big part of the job is finding historical precedence and analogies for the topic. in the case of climate change, that meant looking for ways that they answer alterations in climate and weather going back
as far as we could and his work speaks to that. there's a weird comfort we provide audiences to say that you have been here before. with climate change, listeners can feel less like living in unprecedented times. we have been talking climate change a long time and the world hasn't ended just yet. maybe there's still something we can do. but on the other hand, there's this sad continuity to that, that in fact we have been talking about climate change for as long as we have been burning fossil fuels or freedom molecules, and we haven't -- still haven't heeded people's warnings on this topic yet. so what does the prep look like? usually i would start following the tag line of the show, history behind the headlines, i would start with something i
found in the news to catch the reader's attention and the producers and say this could maybe be a lead for the show. in the case of the cliemmate change show, it was the grounded planes in phoenix due to heat. apparently you can't fly certain types of planes once the atmosphere reaches this particular threshold, and phoenix had grounded airplanes after it topped 118 degrees. the atmosphere wouldn't support those. sometimes they can be used as lead ins and sometimes not, but whatever, i would often throw those in to help spur a conversation. then the introduction we described the overall arch of the history as i mentioned, a sort of synthesis, recommend potential interviewees, highlight big issues and arguments and themes that could drive the discussion. and it is a weird feeling to
provide the information sometimes to such experts. never have i felt more ridiculous than writing a prep on reconstruction for ed ayres. i say that, even the sharpest minds in the game appreciate having the basic facts in front of them, and sort of reminders and prompts of things. then moving into the body of prep, i would highlight stories i found that i thought would be interesting segments. and i usually presented those in chronological order. that's not the way it always turns out when it is produced on the show, but we're historians. helpful to walk me down a time line. in terms of how this fit into my graduate studies, i was thinking about this. i think there are three ways i can talk about that. one is that it kept me up to date on recent publications. i started this job at
"backstory" after i finished course work, so i wasn't being assigned dozens of books a semester to read, some ways working for "backstory" felt like continuation. here you go, write a seminar paper basically on this topic. so that way it was great. it kept me up to date with what was going on in different fields. number two, gave me an exposure to a wide variety of writing styles and methodologies that i would not have gotten had i stayed sort of siloed in my own corner of cultural history and music history and that kind of thing. so it is a cliché to say we are all siloed away, it is clichéd for a reason. it was great to bust out of that and dip my toe into histo tee o ravi. how to write for general audiences, people are turning to
historians for answers. that's something that we should encourage. it never helps to write well when doing that. it was very much a spur in that direction. as far as the job market, i entered graduate school with zero expectations of finding a job as a professor. that's the way it worked out, but that was not where my expectations were taking me. i don't need to recite the dismal job market numbers for anyone, but i say that to say that "backstory" was a way i could start cultivating a different side of my resume, besides teaching and publishing. it was a way to make public history bona fide, start looking elsewhere for jobs. i went through the ph.d. program with one foot out. this isn't working for me, i
need to look on the horizon for something else. that was a great, "backstory" was a great opportunity for that. it also gave me understanding of what kinds of stories connect with the general public. there were many times that i would write a prep and find the story, think they're definitely using that for a segment because of whatever scholarly relevance only for the producers to quash that. it was interesting learning what media production people think makes a snappy segment versus what i think would be great for scholarship. so i was able to apply for different public history jobs even as i applied for academic jobs. and i was also looking for jobs in media production. the researcher before me, her name was melissa, she used her experience to land jobs at the wall russ and as producer at the cbc for radio programs ideas and
tapestries, and recently back at "backstory" as a senior producer. melissa is a brilliant historian, earned a ph.d. at uva, could do anything she wanted with that. interesting how she bridged her academic training with the media skills she picked up at "backstory." and lastly, i will say that working for this public history outlet held my eyes on the job market in terms of the numbers of jobs that i could apply for within the academy. i applied for dozens of jobs this year, probably a third of those had some component of public history teaching or doing public history. again, it was just a way to beef up that part of my cv. and i am eternally grateful for that. i will end there. >> no, you won't. >> sorry. >> i would love you to comment on use of your own material on "backstory," scholarly material. >> sure. scholarly material.
this episode came up already in conversation, the episode on hair. rather than lead with donald trump which was what might come to people's minds, including my own, brian was asking around about anything else, any kind of show topper we could use. i happened to be writing about elvis presley, getting his hair cut as he went into the army in 1958. that's part of chapter three of my dissertation. so we were able to use that as the show topper. in that way not only was i behind the scenes, i got to be on the mike and put my own research out there, which was a great advertising for me, great promotion. i am indebted to brian for that as well. thanks. >> thanks. joyce? >> i like how the bells start just as you talked about elvis. >> when you have a production team of eight people, things happen, joyce.
>> not at random, clearly. well thank you for setting up this panel and the opportunity to talk about what i have done with "backstory" and to actually meet everybody in person. this is great. the climate episode was my third time, i think before that we worked on nelly bly. the one before that we can't remember. >> but it was memorable. >> i think it might have been on roanoke. so that's why we lost that memory of that place. that episode, i was in chicago. i remember it being very cold in studio. the second one i was in cambridge, third one i was in italy, it was hot going to the studio that summer. i mention that because i ended up doing taping at the student radio station in venice, and i am delighted to have any opportunity to thank them again,
they were fantastic, they were extremely helpful. after we were done, they asked a lot of questions, so that's where i immediately knew that the kinds of questions you were pitching me came up with material that was immediately interesting to these far off students. i was impressed and i remain impressed that you chose the topic of climate at all. at a time even two years ago when this wasn't really common nor a lot of public media, it is becoming very common. the episode for bbc radio 4 that i contributed to just aired on tuesday, so i'm getting this request a lot, but you guys were there first. >> we call it "backstory" bump. >> the bbc thinks that's what we should do. around the same time that i
worked with you all, i was asked to write something for an online magazine. i pitched a climate story. it was a pause. an editor emailed back and said funny thing, climate change is not only fatal to human life but to readership. could you think of writing about something else. and i didn't email right back because i was so angry for many reasons because i think that's not the reason you don't run with a story. so again, i remain very, very impressed that you realized it was an important topic, had to be covered at a time when obviously your peers weren't necessarily going to agree with that. let me say a little about the content of the segment i did.
there were four or five stories, and i just did one part of it. early modern climate change. the kol anization of the americas, invasion by europeans took place during a period of global cooling that goes under the name of little ice age that began from about 1300s onward. we might still be in it, if we weren't, we would feel the effects of global warming more, but the colonists felt it in the 17th and 18th centuries when comments on the pre dij us snows in new england, inability of places like virginia to produce olives and wine were sources of complaint, and incomprehension. during this period as well european colonists thought they might be able to change this.
not only was this a period in which climate change was occurring but there are theories of and throw poe general i can climate change. british colonists thought if they cut down the trees, cleared the forests, opened land for cultivation, the whether would moderate and temperature would get warmer. they weren't wrong. cutting down forests will warm conditions. there are reasons for this, different from ours. so here you have fairly complex idea about how human interaction with the natural world can produce hemispheric changes. there was also debate over whether this theory was correct. jefferson, for instance, signed on to the trees hypothesis. benjamin franklin was skeptical or basically he warned be careful what you wish for, we
may end up with a climate way hotter in summer than we would find optimal. so that's what i talked about if i remember correctly. and it was designed to warn people now that, not warn people but encourage them to think of the past as a set of resources for ways of thinking about problems that we have today. i think a lot of the discussion on climate change now emphasizes the sense that this never happened before, this is unprecedented, amazing crisis that no one lived through. and there are dimensions of that that are true, especially the and throw pa general i can nature of climate change. the overemphasis of the nature of the crisis can be unhelpful, makes people freeze in terror whereas encouraging them to think of how people in the past dealt with such problems, how their solutions may or may not be passed, that was really great
about emphasizing within this. i think these days probably if i pitched a climate story to a lot of different places, i wouldn't get the response that that will kill reader interest because now of course there's greater interest. and that's one reason why i think it was a great idea to have this panel, to kind of revive the episode and add to the conversation yet again when readership, listenership about things related to climate is growing. it is really growing. for sad reasons, but necessary ones. i also liked the episodes, the stories went into political dimensions to emphasize climate change now and earlier had always been about politics.
and understanding the interface between what happens in the natural world and how scientific and nonscientific understandings of what's going on in climate have political dimensions. i thought it was very necessary. i liked how the episode ends by pointing out where the in kre jult comes and the context late 20th, early 21st centuries, thought it was incredibly necessary and needs to continue to be discussed. i do think even as climate is being discussed now, a lot of issues related to it remain sort of don't touch that. i worked as brian said on thomas robert malfus, original and best
question mark, and i did the norton addition, that included later iterations or discussion of classic test, so i am aware how discussions of population have been very fraught, extremely fraught. it is striking to me you can now have a conversation with most people about what kind of car they drive. do they have a car, is it a normal car, electric car. 20 years ago, a lot of people would have been offended thinking that's none of your business. they knew where the conversation was going, they were like -- you can now have a conversation with somebody about that. climate change is now something that i think reasonable sections of the public think is a problem worth public iteration.
you cannot have a conversation with a lot of people about how many children they have. this remains a topic where people are like no, i'm sorry, that's none of your business, go away. i shut down entire dinner parties by -- people say what are you working on, you say malfus. they're like -- it is not an unrelated topic. it is not the only one, i'm not going to say population is the driver, and it is not the only one where people are still reluctant to get into that. i think the politics of how they talk about human use of the natural world, how we are part of the natural world and must think of ourselves in that way, unfinished business, highly politicized, necessary to think about. this leads me, the last thing i'll say, if you were to do an update, a new episode on climate
or environmentalism, perhaps more broadly defined, what maybe wasn't included last time, what we didn't discuss, what didn't come up. and i think this is the dimension of human rights. there's a way in which you can think of climate change and environmental crisis as one of the most fundamental threats to human rights today. environmentalism, including climate change, is long categorized as a luxury worry. environmentalism was privileged white people worried about trash on the trail in yosemite. there's a lingering sense that yeah, we'll get around to that, you know, maybe that's a concern. it is not that climate change might eventually be a fundamental attack on people's well-being, their ability to live in the same way they might want to, the ability to live where their ancestors lived, it
is already a threat to a lot of populations in the world on this level. i think that's something that one episode can't do everything. and we didn't talk about that, but i really think this is a pressing way in which we need to think about climate change in particular but other environmental issues, mass extinction, collapse of ecosystems, in some ways we live with one of the biggest hypotheses we posed for ourselves. can we survive ecosystem collapse, quite a question, and there's no definite answer. i think thinking of how even now environmental collapse is effecting populations differentially and prejudicially, and how in the future if unaddressed, this is going to be an even more extreme problem. >> i am dying to hear that show. if i had a better track record
at our producers accepting my ideas, i would pitch it to them this afternoon. but maybe we can work together to pitch that show. thank you very much, joyce. does anyone want to add anything before we open it up to questions? yeah. shoot. wait for the mike. >> thank you so much. >> maybe we can all identify ourselves. >> yes, thank you. i am katie brownell, associate professor of history here at purdue. thank you so much for a terrific conversation. i wonder if i could ask the panel to dig in to something that nathan talked about about the question of time, where the public engagement works, how you fit it into your schedule that's consumed with research, teaching, service, how you carve
out this particular time and make it valuable, make it seen as valuable to colleagues in the department, tenure review committees that are evaluating your work, and what perhaps we could do as a profession to make engagement work, valued and rewarded aspect of our job. >> i'll start with the follow-up. so when we first began the conversion from broadcast to podcast and i was coming in as a neophyte, i spent 15 hours a week per show. it was way too much time. the producers said it was too much time. brian was telling me i am spending way too much time, and it was definitely too much time, and while i was teaching and doing everything else, and basically a lot of it was the learning curve, figuring out.
we did spend every bit of two hours in the studio recording script, redoing rifts. there was a way we were trying to figure out how to reduce the number of studio hours, and then you have to factor in that we were doing a lot of heavily produced segments that required a great deal of planning on the front end in terms of guests and the books you want to incorporate, what kinds of sound bites, sound files could help, and a lot of earlier stuff on the podcast side, you listen and get great voice overs, sound tracks, recreate the moment where she's denied transport, and it helps, and then we got wiser to move it to now a four to five week commitment, four to five hour a week commitment if that even. so it is much more manageable as
a team getting more streamlined. relative to the question which is real important about how does this register in more conventional academic conversations, this is uncharted territory now. one of the things i find fascinating with the arrival of twitter-storians, content generated on facebook in extraordinarily quick fashion, we've riefd at a digital moment in knowledge that universities have to catch up to in the credentializing and rewarding. i had a conversation with the department chair who i love dearly, what it would mean to bring me up for full professor while i am doing "backstory." we talked about printing up transcripts, putting that in the dossier as paper to go with more conventional sources.
again, joey wrote most of the transcripts, it is not a fair reflex of -- >> and having outside podcasters review and comment. very important. >> so we're still trying to figure out what does it mean to have a peer review of this kind of media, and look, if you have allison hobbs or tom segrew or chaplin writing for popular readership, no one can say it is not scholarly. some point you have to get wise, has to be a way to measure impact, thinking of scholarly impact, not how many times you were cited by peer review journals. something that provosts, department chairs, that's a conversation they have to have. many of you are working in an a log publishing, you see the sand moving through the hour dplglas.
you know that's a platform you find harder to sustain and get people to contribute to. so the institutions have to figure out how to catch up with that. some ways i am not necessarily worried about whether or not the efforts being done will be fruitless. i think the political economy of higher education has to adjust as a technology adjusts. as a last point, i will say on this, this connects to the point that joey raised earlier, one of the really fruitful consequences of a tough moment, speaking specifically about the long term, more than ten year contraction in the academic job market, is that there has been a flowering of extraordinarily talented historic minds in a variety of different corners of the world of letters. that can only make it again a much more productive moment for civic debate, scholarly thinking
and the like. the fact you have people working as journalists, novelists, public historians, folks are thinking if i can do genealogy and library work until i get my job, but folks making a career writing for popular media, you think of the journalists we love to read, these are folks who got research jobs, often times doctor ats in history. it cannot be argued we are more i impoverished as they move forward into that. i feel as though there's going to be gradual acknowledgment on the part of universities to recognize that scholars are going to feel much greater payoff. i certainly feel this way, most stuff that i write for popular readership, if i get 15,000 people to read something, that's more attractive than something with 15 people, average
readership for an academic journal. i think in a lot of ways they have to figure out how to properly reward and remunicipaler ate folks hunting for the ducks so to speak. >> i think you're right. one side to the university and academia in a state of crisis, there's a pressing and great opportunity to redefine what people with ph.d.s can and should do. just to add to that. i remember when environmental historians were at pains to say they were not environmentalists, that they were not politically engaged. looking back on that, i think what on earth were they thinking. i think the stepping up and making public statements and using the kind of knowledge that we have is critical.
this is not the moment to say there's no ism in what i do. and i wanted to comment on the question of status in the academy. i think as a senior person if i have the opportunity to say something in public, i should do that. what's going to happen? i'm safer than a lot of people in doing that. i think where i pause is when i want to get untenured colleagues involved. this is tricky. i don't want to be the kind of person that makes that decision for them and not talk to them about it. i think extending the invitation and having that grown up make a decision about how much time they think they have, what kind of contours they want in their career without any sense that they should do it or should have
to do it. but that is a really sticky question about a more vulnerable stage of your career, how much time and how much risk, especially now, when visibility to the public is not as pleasant as it used to be. that's an unresolved question, definitely university administrators probably need to have clear guidelines about what risk is appropriate for people that aren't tenured. >> very briefly, you'll be shocked i'm going to address the bureaucratic implementation of this, but my limited experience with those at the higher echelons of administration in universities is they crave this kind of public engagement. as for the most part, ph.d.s,
they understand the dangers for let's say a person not yet tenured, or person in nathan's situation who's still aspiring to get promotions and chairs and those kinds of things. my own sense is that -- no, he already has a chair. forget the chair. a whole dining room set. my sense is that the people, there really is a disconnect between what the people running the university want, not to mention they're often highly paid large organizations dedicated to public engagement, let's put that aside, they also have athletics departments, maybe that's not a good example, and our own colleagues, our
colleagues that write the reports for tenure and promotion who are no longer against this. i watched this change over the course of my career. they no longer hold it against you if you write an op-ed for "the washington post" or you're on "backstory" or whatever. but they think the higher ups will hold it against them, that it is not going to count. in terms of bureaucratic implementation, quite literally, which organization you would go to, but the distinction between the decision makers within our own disciplines where all of this starts and those people that run universities might go a ways towards resolving the problem. second thing i'll say is we need more conferences like this one. i'm going to give you a shoutout for organizing it, where there's
not this like great divide between presenting say to a panel, first panel, terrific set of scholarly presentations, but they're also discussions how to engage the public, that we ourselves are not distinguishing between the two. >> just as a quick rider to that comment, "backstory" is a university supported show in many respects, right? you think about the fact that you have someone like ed ayres, former university president, who sees the value in the show, getting support from the university of virginia, and the provost office at johns hopkins help to support the show. i had some of the most fruitful conversations directly with the provost who wants to see scholars who are out there,
engaged, have impact. as a final point on this, one of the most comforting, eye opening conversations about this came as i was still an assistant professor, and then department chair john marshall was comforting, letting me know by the way, people that are on the school wide tenure and promotions committee are scientists. historians are terrible lining up the boards reviewing dossiers, so the scientists actually review your file. one of the questions they ask of folks in the humanities is what's the impact of this scholarship. right? so we wind up making an easy, compelling case, you can see easily where this scholar is showing up and impacting present day conversations, application of the research and so on. some ways again not falling into the myth logical, there are a
number of people at strategic that want to see you reach out to the public. >> yes, sir. wait for the mike. thank you. tell us who you are. >> i work with library of congress, we're starting to archive "backstory" for the long term. so my question relates to that, a couple of questions. first of all, what value do you see in communicating historical knowledge through audio, through audio alone. you might want to talk about that, value and limitations. the other thing is what value do you think archiving this for people many, many years in the future will have to access the show? >> well, i will take the second one first.
tremendous value in archiving. >> keep doing it. keep doing it. >> because he knows most of my answers are, well, bs. great value because, you know, in dog years, in podcast years, we're about 400,000 years old. podcasts just don't last very long. we have been very fortunate that somebody talked about i guess the balance of work and how much time you put in. a lot of my time now goes into just keeping the show afloat financially and personnel changes. i don't run the show in any way, but shows don't last and what you're doing will last. so extraordinarily important. i would be happy to ask nathan to write a letter to that effect in case it will help you with your -- no, i am happy to write
a letter for that. audio. i'll start with my answer. i would love to hear from other people. i have been shocked at -- i read marshall mccluen, i have been shocked at what an intimate medium audio is, especially the podcast, especially the kind of less formulaic forms. this is remaking american political history. franklin d roosevelt remade american political history by using the radio. and he did it in a way, it wasn't just the technology. herbert hoover used to talk like this on the radio, and it didn't work so well. but roosevelt got the format and
technology right and changed americans' sense of their relationship to the federal government, what could be less intimate than the federal government. by using audio. i think some of the mo more talented podcasters out there, and some of them in this room, are doing the same thing. it resonates in a way a scholarly article isn't going to. aside from the reach. i mean, actually the ability to remember moments from that. i've never heard anybody refer to a driveway moment for an article in the journal of american history. i don't doubt people sitting here spent years in driveways finishing articles. but driveway moments happen all
the time with audio. so i think that's part of the value. >> yeah. well, this is something that brian gestured towards, the reach, accessibility. that's not just about audio but about podcasts in particular, being able to carry it around in your pocket and listen to it on the plane as i'm sure everyone did here to get ready for this panel. yeah. i mean, just having it at your fingertips, making it browsable, making it where i'm going to search history and have that come up and have "backstory" come up, have content like that available to people that are not going to -- they're definitely not reading a journal art calling, may not read an op-ed in "the washington post," here i am walking the dog. now i'm learning about climate change. yeah, it is incredible that way.
also i would say particular to the podcast, the flexibility it allows in terms of production that you're not going to get on a live radio, like when it was supposed to be history, you're not getting that sustained story telling that you can do with a podcast. i think it is just immensely exciting. >> i would only add in terms of some of the costs that we incur, we rely on audio format. i am a big fan of this platform in a bundle of other ways. one of the limitations, shared with me by guests and other people in terms of wanting more information is we don't have the benefit of footnotes and bibliography. there's a lot of scholarship we draw from sometimes on the fly, like a book we read that came to mind. we can't say for more on this, please go see. we don't get the chance to give
the tip of the hat to everybody that might be with us in the booth from a content standpoint. so in that sense, i often times feel like i send follow-up floats to people, hope you tune into this week's show. i was driven by something you said in another piece about this that moved my thinking, just so it acknowledges the broader scholar community that may not have a chance to have their name called in the credits. >> yes. >> i taught for six years at anglo state university in texas. i taught freshman survey classes to students that are first generation, maybe out of 225 students in a semester, i might have four history majors. so you framed your audience in terms of the public and you're
talking about like essentially adults learning more about the issues of the day and history. it seems to me that my students, my freshmen are very much that public audience. >> oh, yes. >> i wanted to hear how you frame your audience in terms of students because i certainly used "backstory" a lot, very effectively in the classroom, not just for the content that you all provide, the ability to leave in the stories of people who might not otherwise make it into the narrative of a lecture, but also for the process of what historians do, and sort of demonstration of like this is what your professors do. i know some of these people will be interviewed or are doing the interviewing. how do you frame your production in terms of reaching that
audience and helping out teachers in those types of classrooms? >> well, so while we give shoutouts, shoutout to national endowment humanities who has been -- we have an incredibly generous anonymous donor. but next to that incredibly generous anonymous donor with the national endowment for the humanities has been the most consistent and generous form of support. and that last grant comes in the form of something called classroom connections. which aside from supporting the basic costs of production allows us to work with uva's curry school of education to target -- i can't remember exactly exactly how many shows, but a good number of shows specifically for
years in classrooms from high school through college. and we don't do anything -- stop me if i'm wrong, but as co-hosts -- we didn't plan those bells. but i hope the neh is listening. we are not aware of what's a classroom connection show or not in terms of content or discussion. but in the post production, we do some of those very things that nathan was talking about. we provide detailed lists of resources. we also distill some of the ideas into a little bit of video that might convey some of the key ideas. the other thing we do and we don't do it in a systematic fashion is we meet with conferences, large national conferences of high school
teachers, for instance. we hear from a lot of teachers who use our material and i'm always -- i mean, i can't imagine an audience that i want to reach more than that. so thank you very much for what you've been doing. but i think -- honestly, we reach a lot of people spontaneously. not through any kind of systematic effort. after the panel, i'd love to hear your thoughts how we can move beyond classroom connections a little more systematic in reaching those classrooms. >> connect this to the earlier question about what are academics supposed to do and what we're doing, i think anyone who teaches is already reaching the public. and so -- >> absolutely. >> so my colleagues who say i can't do that, i have to tell them you already are.
whether that's good news or bad for them. because you don't give this footnotes to undergraduates. or only sparingly. that distillation of how we speak to each other as colleagues in a kind of shr intellectual setting and how we translate that to people who don't care. and good for them. they really don't need to know all that detail. they really want the very clear narrative and analytic content that will help them think about the past. the first comment i saw when we moved away from the radio 52 minute hour with requisite breaks in that hour. to podcast, the first negative comment i saw and granted i'm usually shielded from these. and i already told you i don't go to comments section. but the first negative comment that came through was a big fan of back story.
and she was very upset we had gone to the podcast format. because our first podcast, like, ended before her exercise routine did. and she was very upset that she used to time her exercise regime to back story. i wrote back and said personally, i'd be delighted to end my exercise regime earlier. yes? >> -- historical association. nonprofit, nonpartisan. >> you have to say both. >> very important. going through a lot of iterations. i've been honored to be on it and thank you.
what do you see as your future goals? what's next? >> nathan's been talking a lot about diana roz and the supremes and how diana ross left the supremes. i think the nathan conway -- no, i'm just kidding. i mean, i don't know. >> it's something that we think about in part because of funding issues and in part because of generational questions. there are -- you know, very real career management questions. there's a lot that's there. i think right now we found a really good sweet spot in terms of the production schedule, the platform. i think we're probably going to keep doing shows that are, you know, firstly connected to the news cycle but then with a bundle of evergreen topics. i don't know if there's any qualitative adjustments on the horizon. we haven't had those meetings yet, i would say. but i do know we all get a great
deal of enjoyment from the show and want to keep doing it for as long as we can. >> you got any ideas? >> i'll email you. >> yeah. email me. >> just to add to that, i started about the same time that nathan and joanne did. it's interesting to me. i'd been a fan of the show when it was just the original three hosts. and then to see -- >> he's required to say that. >> check's in the mail, i hope. they hope to see new hosts come in and the show sustain its popularity and grow and not only grow in popularity but the topics it's covering. it was encouraging for me to see this show can, like -- you know, people can kind of tag team out, even. and the show can live on past whoever would want to do it. it can inject fresh blood, so to
speak, and keep going. i sort of see it as an institution now. it's like an institution that can keep going beyond peter, brian, and ed. however long they want to do it. but i don't know. what ryan thinks about that? >> it's my dream. to create the kind of platform that could be modified, changed, and renewed. absolutely. yes? >> elizabeth mccray. this is maybe a more pointed question. you talked about your back story gave you the ability i think to experiment with your anti-racist work. >> yeah. >> so not just -- i mean, i gather not just in the platform of sort of audio, but could you talk a little bit more about that? >> yeah, yeah, yeah. >> one of those experiments or
what you meant by that? >> yeah. so -- how do i put this? so when you are writing for the kind of positions one does to let a reader know where you stand relative to existing debates, archives and so forth, there's not a lot there. i do think there are important things that one can do to basically take a story that folks think they know and to really help to change it. and to modify it, right? i mean, again, one of the things i think is really important for the folks that do work in the early period of u.s. history and this is something that came across strongly in the interview is just how integral native american technology was in the creation of the sense of
science. when you arrive on the shores of north america, it's not some overgrown forest. the native american people have been good at curating all ways people could pass through these wooded areas. it was not an uncultivated wilderness. i think it's important for listeners to understand that technology in the modern united states doesn't begin with the arrival of europeans. right? or when we did a show about black panther. the phenomenon that was black p panther as a cultural moment, it was important not to think about the film itself but the long history of black sel self-self-determination that were formed. then to put that in a podcast format that reached a wide audience was important for getting people to understand what was happening was not just a comic book movie or another moment of pop culture. when we have a discussion about
confederate monuments, that helped to crystallize this. as historians we were trying to get our footing. where do we stand on existing confederate statuary. and an appropriate response to a moment like now where the country is grappling if it should memorialize traitors or war heroes in another. i'm having a conversation with people i respect that are deeply informed about these issues. it was a moment, i think, again to experiment on what the arguments about what ending white supremacy would look like in terms of an actual policy for what one does with the statue in a city like richmond or elsewhere. that's different from taking the position in an academic article that very few people are going to read. i have the benefit of teaching a class that i love called racial literacy for historians. and i try to have my students in that class think about what it would mean to step out with
their own work and understand that number one, their experience as scholars is a starting point. for doing good, rigorous work. one of the things that we do, by simply acknowledging experience and not pretending to be the detached disembodied observer that was born out of european modes of knowing and doing research. that is actually anti-racist work. speaking from that vantage point. i think the show provides an important platform for selectively making those points, you know, explicitly and other times allowing the conversations or the topic selection to do some of that work. >> are there any other questions? yes? >> hi. i'm a professor at the harvard kennedy school.
i have a bit of a two-part question. so the first is a broad question for all of the panelists which is that, do you think that historians particularly in the age of today or of the moment have a responsibility to engage the public in classrooms or engaging publics beyond say the ivory tower. if so, why? if not, why not? i'm just interested in hearing the panel's response. and then two, also interested in if there's something to be said for your role or the medium that you guys use as an aggregator of good historical and analytical work in a post-fact or, alternative truth or, you know, particularly where people are
silent or have their own set of facts. so presenting this and engaging a much wider audience but also aggregating the good work that, you know, lots and lots and lots of people are doing through a very powerful platform and through a powerful medium. so i'm wondering if you can talk a little bit about that. >> i do think i said those in academic fields do have this responsibility. and particularly because of the moment we're in now to talk about what knowledge is and what facts can determine. seems like that should be part of our job. i think in terms of my working in history, i feel like i'm part of a tag team involving scientists on one hand. and then maybe social sciences
about policy. are on the other. that i think the scientists, my gosh. if i ever feel like i'm getting heat -- sorry. for talking about climate change as a historian, i just look at climate scientists when they speak in public. it is amazing how they're immediately attacked. and they become objects of ridicule and abuse. they are simply stating the facts and that's what happens. i do really think that it's important for non-scientists to support them. to point out that that is a form of knowledge that has validity. then again as a historian, i also want to point out that this moment may be unprecedented for many reasons, but it's not entirely unprecedented and here are reasons why we can think calmly about the state that we're in.
which i just think that given the moment that we're in is important. and i should help do that. >> so first of all, i want to give you a round of applause for organizing this conference. speaking of aggregation of facts, i think this is a great way to go for everything i've seen so far. i think we have an obligation as a profession to do public engagement. but i'm still a big believer in specialization and division of labor. and i have colleagues who are better teachers than i am. i love it when they teach. i teach also. but i think students benefit more when the very best teachers. i have colleagues who are better
scholars than i am. i think we need to think of ourselves collectively in the best sense of the word profession. and so the profession needs to engage publicly, but there are people who are far better than i am at public engagement as well. i think if we could all think about where we can contribute to the multiple responsibilities that we have and privileges because we have privileges being in this discipline. we can think about that collectively and figure out who is best at doing what. i think the public will be much better served that way. that's the way i would answer your first question. sadly, on the second fact aggregating besides thanks you
for doing this, i maean, what's sad is i kind of thought of back stories that for awhile. but that moment in a way has passed their more urgent needs. i need people who can tell us if a video is a fake video or not. we need people who consistently call out. it's the ability of a podcast to influence a world that is rapidly moving towards not being able to distinguish whether something you see in a video is real or not. i'm afraid we're just a drop in the bucket in the fight against that. not that we shouldn't try. >> and if i could distinguish between what we do is knowledge
just in case versus knowledge just in time. because i think there's a lot. again, speaking about climate history where it seems immediately and timely again for very sad reasons. and can be deployed right away. i would hate for the academy to only do that. that we're only supposed to study stuff that is immediately timely. we need all the just in case kinds of analyses. people looking at stuff that you don't see that it has an immediate application. but you never know. and also, if we were to really be in a state of emergency where we were only allowed to work on stuff that was immediately relevant, there's something just kind of over about the pursuit of knowledge and the ability that we're going to give to future generations to kind of experience what it is like to be a scholar and a teacher. if it all only comes down to
that immediate application. >> please go ahead. >> so the -- your first question, the way that i think about it is there's obligation and then there's opportunity. saying we have an obligation can feel kind of -- i'm echoing people here. but feel like a burden, maybe. i need to check in on twitter and make sure there's anything to weigh on right this second. that's going to take away from our productivity in other ways. it's going to be, you know, cause anxiety or mass anxiety. it's not that we have an obligation to be right there with the hot take. but it's to say we have the opportunity and to recognize our expertise for that. in terms of, like, anning aing a aggregation of knowledge, i think of back story as the warm take rather than the hot take.
could be warmed over. >> that's going to be on your tag line there. >> the tepid take. the warmed over take. >> i'm sorry, go ahead. >> yeah. take it as far as you want to. but in seriousness, it's -- yes, we can -- the show can react to sort of breaking topics, but it also has that, you know, couple a week lag time where you can dip into the historiography. as brian says, be a drop in the bucket at least against the -- you know, in the fight against this propagation of lies that we often see. >> i know we're a little bit over, so i'll be brief. i think this is a really rich moment in which we are being encouraged for fluency in a bunch of different forms. so i think a lot of people are going to feel stronger or lesser
pulls to weigh in in a public for forum. i don't think anybody is going to be separating from that need or that desire. and so it might not even be a question of inducing people to engage or encouraging them to give them the tools to most fruit fruitly engage. i have those to jump from a dissertation into podcasting. right? or they want to have a trade press contract right away, but they don't have a topic hammered out. i do think there's something about, you know, walking young minds through the stages of a project maturing and through that process confidence that allows them to come away with gravity when the time comes, when the public debate needs the kind of work they do. all i would say is giving us a kind of tool kit where we would feel comfortable doing a deep dive monograph, article, podcast
to me feels like a way to relieve our students well served. and i do think in keeping with that, the archive creation is one of those skill sets. as we all know and do these massive projects, you wind up with a ton of material in your hard drive and have to figure out how to organize it. i'm happy to have back story be one of the projects i'm a part of. i absolutely think of it in that way. and i'm happy when i go back and i read very quick essays written by somebody like dubois or other historians and realize they were doing a version of this too. dubois wrote over 4,000 articles. they weren't all peer reviewed in generals. you know what i mean? there's a way i think we can look back at historians and realize that there was always a way in which they were engaging. they were always playing with form. they were always experimenting and thinking about dubois had radio shows. there's a lot we can do to, again, i think let us know we've
been here before by looking back at earlier historians and how they've engaged in their moment and did so with great fluency. >> well, that back story is a perfect way to end this panel. i want to thank my colleagues on the panel and most of all i want to thank the audience for terrific questions and for coming to this session. remember, don't be a stranger. [ applause ] all week we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span, lectures in history, american artifact artifacts, reel america, the civil war, oral histories, the presidency, and special event coverage about our nation's history.
enjoy american history tv now and every weekend on c-span3. >> weeknights this month as a preview of what's available every weeblgd on c-span3. tonight we continue our look at apollo 11 starting with "moonwalk one," a 1970 documentary commissioned by nasa. the film covers preparations to parades for the astronauts after their safe return. rarely seen footage from around the world as people watched man's first steps on the moon. you can see it tonight starting at 8:00 eastern on c-span3. enjoy american history tv this week and every weekend on c-s n c-spa c-span3. next on american history tv, historians discuss the role, impact, and voting trends of latino-americans in u.s. political history. this conversation was part of a two-d